spring clean for a simpler life
This week is the first official week of spring. There are tulips, daffodils and crocuses galore out in the gardens, bobbing their heads towards that warm, bright sunshine. They’ve spent winter quietly gathering their strength, waiting for the temperature to rise and then…. BAM. A burst of energy and they shoot out of the soil, rising up to their full potential.
What I love about these flowers is they keep it simple. No fancy ruffles, heavy perfumes, or complex leaves. Just simple green leaves and a splash of eye catching, smile inducing colour.
With that in mind, I want to look at how you can keep life simple by ditching the clutter and adding bold accents. First I’m going to chunk up your 24/7s and then I want you to prioritise where you need to spring clean for max impact.
1. Clean and prepare your Body and Mind
Over-busy, buzzing brain keeping you awake or stressing you out? Externalise your thinking, to-dos, appointments, emotions and so on to clear our your brain. Spring weather is here (ish!) and that means less clothing, so add in some toning exercises into your activities and start pampering your skin.
Top tip: Use your smart phone or tablet: I’m a big fan of Evernote for lists, things to remember, reminders and bookmarks and my voice memo dictation app for downloading the moans, groans hmms and aaahs – stopping my mind whirring all night and saving my partner’s ears.
Top tip: Buy two water bottles (one for each hand), fill up and work out. Drink half of each and keep going. Drink the rest to clear your skin and rehydrate your muscles. Then get your toes pampered and remove that winter hair – yes, you know what I mean 😉
2. Do more purposeful work and business
Sometimes, work gets you bogged down with meaningless tasks, desks covered in post-it notes with messages, chewed pens and piles of papers. Lift yourself up. Decide what adds value and balance your time across the have-tos and the want-tos.
Top tip: Use Stephen Covey’s Urgent/Important four box grid, explained here by Brian Johnson of Entheos Academy
Top tip: Unusual strategies to balance the must-do with the want-to tasks with Michael Bungay Stainers’ Great Work Manifesto.
Top tip: Feel stuck in a rut? Seek out new opportunities within your role or organisation AND outside. Can you learn something new, volunteer at a school or charity and why not work with a coach to design your career or business expansion.
3. Re-energise in your free time
When life seems to be running away with you, it’s easy to push all your fun time stuff out of your diary to catch-up on work, chores or all that other stuff you can’t leave alone.
Top tip: Put a price on what you love to do. How much is the rest, relaxation or stress reduction worth to you in the midst of your spring? £10? £100? £1,000? Imagine if you had bought a train/concert/flight ticket for that value, would you give it up so easily?
Top tip: Try something different and outside your norm. Go to a roller disco, visit an exhibition, cook and eat something new, try stand-up comedy or karaoke. Or booking into a retreat or pampering session.
4. Declutter your home and surroundings
Whether your abode is shabby chic vintage or minimalistic white, it needs to be somewhere you are comfortable and relaxed. That’s pretty hard when it’s messy, laundry hanging from the curtain rails, bills and statements stacked up on the dinner table, old clothes stuffed in the back of your wardrobe and drawers.
Top tip: Arrange a swapping party – invite your friends and colleagues to a themed swapping evening or afternoon. Everyone has to bring at least 5 items (clothes, shoes, bags, candlesticks, cookbooks, ornaments and knickknacks, whatever) and lay on some refreshments.
Top tip: Empty a clutter cupboard out one item at a time. Add them to one of 5 piles: gift (ie suitable for a specific friend), charity (donate to your favourite charity’s shop), recycle (fabric, cds, paper, shoes, etc.), trash (stuff beyond repair or passing on) and lastly, keep. Once done, go through the keep pile again and ask yourself “do I need this and do I want this?” Get a single “no” and the item needs to go on a different pile.
Your spring clean needs to be accompanied with a desire to change. To create space, time and the right mindset, you gotta keep the rest simple to avoid distraction and excuses. So roll up your sleeves, don your marigolds (or roller boots!) and get dirty to simplify your life for spring!
Which area do you need to focus on to create a simple, yet bold life this spring? How’re you going to tackle it? Share your plans in the comments.